2018 NBA Finals – Game 1

We’ve made it to the final stage of the playoff journey. Teams have fought, and fallen, some nobly, and some with horrible, horrible shame. There’s been memorable performances, and disappointing ones. Young players have stepped up, veterans have come through once again, and new chapters have been written in NBA history…

…only to have the same two fucking teams battle in the Finals. It’s Round Four between the Warriors and Cavaliers, and I don’t blame you if you’re not super jazzed. I’m not super jazzed, but hey, it’s the Finals, and LeBron James has been unholy in these playoffs, and the Warriors are just unholy in general.

Kevin Love will start for the Cavs tonight, making it through the concussion protocol, while Andre Iguodala remains out for the Warriors. With that bit of housekeeping, there’s nothing left to do but tune into WMUR, Channel 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire, and see how Game 1 of the 2018 Finals shakes out.

8:59 pm – We’re welcomed to The Oracle out in Oakland by, unfortunately, Mike Breen, who will be joined by Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson throughout the Finals, which is too hallowed a ground to be tainted by the likes of these three.

Oof, people are not excited about this series.

For me, it’s not that these two are meeting for the fourth straight time, it’s that there’s just about no doubt in anybody’s mind that the Warriors will romp. It isn’t like we’re watching the 1980s Celtics and Lakers here. If it were a worthy battle, that’d be one thing, but this is shaping up to be such a one sided rivalry. On top of that, these are the two most unlikable, irritating teams in the league these days. Ugh.

Most people are picking Warriors in five. I am going with Warriors in four. Maybe we’ll all be wrong and we’ll get a good series, otherwise let’s get this Finals over with and move on to the World Cup.

9:11 – Mike Breen describes this as a raucous sellout crowd, but those tweets we saw say otherwise! Anyway, the Cavs win the opening tip, and the 2018 NBA Finals are underway.

9:12 – After a steal, LeBron James drives to the hoop for a layup, and the Cavs score the first points of the Finals and take an opening 2-0 lead.

9:13 – Steph Curry knocks down a long three, and the Warriors are on the board, trailing 4-3.

9:18 – The Cavs ruin a Warriors fast break by intentionally fouling someone, leading to a rare moment where I agree with Jeff Van Gundy, who says that cowardly move should result in two free throws and the ball for the team on the break. Anyway, it leads to our first time out with the score Cleveland 15, Golden State 12 with 6:50 left in the first quarter, as both teams have started the game well.

9:23 – Oh dear, JR Smith slips into Klay Thompson, taking him out and hurting his leg. The Warriors fans are upset, but it wasn’t a dirty play. Klay heads to the bench, and then limps to the locker room.

9:24 – Jordan Bell is found all alone under the basket for an easy score, and we’ll have a time out with the scoreboard reading Cleveland 20, Golden State 19 with 5:27 left in the first quarter. Obviously, everyone’s on Klay Watch at the moment.

9:28 – Warriors fans are now loudly booing JR Smith every chance they get.

9:31 – Doris Burke chimes in to tell us that Klay Thompson has a left leg contusion, and that he is expected to return.

9:36 – Klay Thompson is returning to the Warriors bench to a huge ovation from the Oracle crowd.

9:38 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter with score of Cleveland 30, Golden State 29.

Steph Curry has 11 points on 4-5 shooting for the Warriors, while LeBron James has 12 on 4-4 shooting for the Cavs.

Cleveland’s off to a good start offensively, shooting 11-20, but defensively, they’ve been horrendous, allowing Golden State to shoot 12-20. I feel like this is unsustainable for the Cavs. They’re not going to win unless they can shore up their defense.

9:42 – LeBron James storms through the paint for a two hand slam, and the Cavs score first in the second quarter to extend their lead up to 32-29. James is now 5-5 to start this one off. In other news, Klay Thompson is back on the floor for the Warriors.

9:46 – LeBron misses his first shot, falling to 6-7 on the night, but Larry Nance tips it in, and the Cavs go up, 38-33.

9:48 – LeBron gets to the hoop for a nice layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 42, Golden State 35 with 7:48 until halftime.

9:53 – After Jordan Clarkson misses a three, Larry Nance gets an offensive rebound, and sends it back out to Clarkson, who misses another three, and the Warriors take advantage, finding Steph Curry all the way down the court for an easy layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 44, Golden State 40 with 6:25 left until halftime. Clarkson is a horrendous 1-6 in ten minutes off the bench.

9:57 – We’re back and LeBron is on the bench taking his first rest. Let’s see if the Cavs can hang in there without him.

10:00 – LeBron comes back into the game with the Cavs up, 51-45, improving their lead by two points while he was on the bench. Can’t complain about that if you’re rooting for Cleveland.

10:05 – Draymond Green earns a technical foul for arguing against what was clearly a foul on LeBron James. He caught him in the face when James went up for a layup, and LeBron immediately reacted as if he had been shot in the eye. Anyway, Kevin Love hits the technical, and then LeBron, who’s fine, by the way, hits his free throws, and the Cavs lead, 56-53 as we head under a minute left in the first half.

10:07 – Steph Curry hits a super deep three pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the second quarter, earning the first “BAAAANNNNNNG” of the Finals from Mike Breen. It’ll send us into halftime with the score Golden State 56, Cleveland 56.

Hey, we’ve got a good one going here! Steph Curry has 18 points and 6 assists on 7-12 shooting, and Kevin Durant struggled through most of the first half, but hit his last two shots to get himself at 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. LeBron has 24 on 9-11 shooting for the Cavs, and Kevin Love has 12 points and 6 rebounds. Both teams are 22-44 from the floor.

The Cavs led by as many as 11, but the Warriors ended the half on a nice run, punctuated by that Curry three at the buzzer. Nevertheless, the Cavs have literally matched the Warriors shot for shot, but the dreaded third quarter Warriors explosion is looming. At times, Golden State played like they couldn’t be bothered, as if they know they’re just going to go berserk when we return to action after the break.

10:23 – We’re about to start the second half with a lineup change from the Warriors…

10:24 – Kevin Durant hits a one-legged fallaway to provide the first points of the third quarter, giving the Warriors a 58-56 edge.

10:25 – After some great defense from JaVale McGee against LeBron, Draymond Green swirls in a layup on the other end.

George Hill answers with a three, and McGee comes up with a dunk on the other end to give the Warriors a 62-59 lead.

Good grief, as action continues, McGee is found for a layup, as he’s made an immediate impact on both ends of the court to help the Warriors up to a 64-59 lead.

10:27 – The Warriors finish off a fast break with Steph Curry finding Klay Thompson for an easy layup, and they’ve come out of halftime with a 10-3 run to make the score Golden State 66, Cleveland 59 with 9:02 left in the third quarter, sending us into a time out with help from none other than JaVale McGee.

10:32 – JaVale reverts to his usual self by getting blocked by the rim on a funky, off balance dunk attempt. This is amazing.

10:34 – LeBron pulls up and hits a long two with his foot on the line, and we’re back to a one possession game with the Cavs trailing, 68-65.

10:36 – Another LeBron three sends us into a time out after seven straight Cavalier points makes the score Golden State 68, Cleveland 68 with 5:26 left in the third. James has all seven of those consecutive Cavs points to get himself up to 31 points on 11-13 shooting.

10:40 – Kevin Durant misses a jumper, but Kevon Looney tips it in to put the Warriors up, 70-68.

10:41 – LeBron gets his shot blocked, but wrestles control of the rebound away from three Warriors and puts in a shot. On his next trip down the court, he knocks down a long three, to put the Cavs back ahead…

…but Steph Curry answers with his own three, and we’re tied at 73 when the dust settles.

10:44 – Two free throws from Kevin Durant puts the Warriors back ahead at 75-73. Kevin Love comes back with a hook shot to tie us right back up at 75. Back on the other end, Durant puts in a jumper, and the Warriors inch back ahead, 77-75.

10:45 – Klay Thompson cans a three, and the Warriors lead is up to 80-75 as we near the end of the quarter.

10:46 – Shaun Livingston finds Kevon Looney at the end of a fast break for an easy dunk, and we’ll have a time out with the score now Golden State 82, Cleveland 75 with 1:15 left in the third.

10:48 – We’re back underway with LeBron James resting on the bench to close out the third.

10:50 – We’re here at the end of the third with the score Golden State 84, Cleveland 78.

Kevin Durant has 21 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists on 8-18 shooting, and Steph Curry’s also at 21 points with 7 assists on 8-14 shooting. LeBron’s all the way up to 36 points and 5 assists on 13-21 shooting.

The Cavs withstood and survived the Warriors third quarter onslaught, but Golden State still built up their lead a bit at the end of the quarter. Do the Cavs have one last run in them, or is this fourth quarter going to slip away?

Clarkson’s down to 1-7 shooting after a particularly horrible miss on a baseline shot right near the end of the quarter.

10:55 – Jeff Green gets himself a dunk for the first points of the fourth quarter as the Cavs trail, 84-80. LeBron is also back into the ballgame after spending the first few moments of the fourth on the bench.

10:56 – LeBron’s eye is looking red as a result of that foul Draymond hit him with earlier. Green really earned a technical foul arguing against it. Just look at his eye!

10:59 – Kyle Korver knocks down a three, and the Cavs refuse to go away as we head into a time out with the score Golden State 89, Cleveland 88 with 8:52 remaining. Maybe we were all wrong about this series.

11:03 – Klay Thompson flips up a pass to Kevon Looney who banks it in to put the Warriors ahead, 91-88.

11:04 – Hey, Jordan Clarkson contributed! His runner in the paint cuts the Cavs deficit down to 91-90.

On the Cavs next trip down the court, LeBron gets to the hoop for a layup, putting him at 40 points, and putting the Cavs ahead, 92-91.

11:06 – Kevin Durant splits a pair of free throws, missing the second one, but Kevon Looney tips in the miss to give the Warriors a 94-92 lead.

11:08 – LeBron James bats an offensive board out to JR Smith, who misses a three, but Kevin Love is there to clean up the mess and score a basket to tie us up at 94.

11:09 – Draymond Green, who has been so bad from downtown that teams have been blatantly leaving him open, nails a three, giving the Warriors a 97-94 advantage.

On their next trip down the court, Steph Curry of course follows it up with a three of his own, sending us into a time out with the score Golden State 100, Cleveland 94 with 4:37 remaining.

(My bad)

11:15 – LeBron drives by Steph Curry and throws down a jam to make this a one possession game again, but Curry answers back by driving to the hoop for a layup, and the Warriors have a 102-98 lead.

11:16 – Kevin Love corrals an offensive rebound and knocks down a three. He’s up to 21 points, and the Cavs trail, 102-101.

11:17 – LeBron drives into the paint, draws contact, and gets the shot to go down! He’ll head to the line looking for a three point play, but first, we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 103, Golden State 102 with 50.8 seconds to go.

11:19 – We’re back and LeBron hits the free throw to put the Cavs ahead, 104-102.

11:20 – Kevin Durant drives into the paint, but LeBron is there to head him off at the pass and draw an offensive foul! At least, that’s how it’s called initially, but we’re going to have a nice, big long review on this one.

11:22 – After the review, they’ve changed their minds and called the foul on LeBron.

11:23 – Durant puts in both of the free throws, and we’ll have a time out with the score Golden State 104, Cleveland 104 with 36.4 seconds remaining.

11:25 – LeBron drives into the paint and gets the layup! He’s up to 49 points now, tying his career high.

On the other end, Steph Curry gets his own layup, but he’s fouled as well! We’re tied at 106 as he steps to the line looking for a lead.

Curry hits his free throw, and the Cavs go down the court with the shot clock off…

11:26 – LeBron throws a pass to George Hill, and he’s knocked over by Klay Thompson. George Hill goes to the line with 4.7 seconds left, and the Cavs down, 107-106.

11:27 – Hill hits the first free throw…and misses the second! JR Smith grabs the offensive rebound, and runs away! He must have thought the Cavs had the lead, but they did not! LeBron tries calling a time out, but it goes unnoticed and time expires with this game tied at 107. We’re going to overtime here in Game 1! WHAT IN THE FUCK IS HAPPENING!?

I am sorry I bitched and moaned about this series.

Real quick, Steph Curry has 29 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists for Golden State, and LeBron has 49, 7 and 8.

11:30 – The Cavs win the jump ball, and overtime is underway. I wonder what sort of wacky adventures we’re about to get into…

11:32 – Kevin Durant puts in a pair of free throws for the first points of overtime, giving the Warriors a 109-107 lead.

11:33 – Draymond Green finds Klay Thompson in the corner for a three, and the Warriors quickly get their lead up to 112-107.

On their next trip down the court, Steph Curry wings a ridiculous pass over his shoulder to Shaun Livingston who gets control of the ball and puts in a little hook shot as the Warriors have opened overtime with a 7-0 run to make the score Golden State 114, Cleveland 107 with 3:01 on the clock.

11:36 – Shaun Livingston is found in the paint for an uncontested dunk, and it’s nine straight points to begin overtime for the Warriors.

11:37 – LeBron James misses a shot, but Jeff Green tips in the miss, but the Cavs are down 116-109.

Back down the court, Draymond Green hits another three, and it’s now a ten point game with the Warriors up, 119-109.

11:38 – LeBron James puts in a pair of free throws, and he’s up to 51 points, the sixth 50 pointer in Finals history, and even that’s not going to be enough with the Warriors up 119-111.

11:39 – Klay Thompson puts in a three, getting the Warriors lead up to 122-111.

11:40 – JR Smith knocks down a three, and LeBron is having a less than friendly discussion with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the other end of the court.

11:40 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

After Tristan Thompson committed a foul, immediately earning an ejection, he and Draymond Green engage in some pushing and shoving. Draymond then prances about the court to rile up the crowd. It’s unclear to me why Thompson was immediately thrown out, but maybe it had something to do with LeBron and Steph and Klay’s unfriendly discussion. Anyway, Draymond came up and was antagonizing Thompson a little bit once he got tossed, so Thompson shoved the ball in his face, and pushing and shoving ensued.

By the way, the Warriors lead is 122-114 with 2.6 seconds left.

11:45 – Ah, Tristan Thompson was called for a Flagrant 2 when he fouled Shaun Livingston, who was shooting a jumper as the shot clock was about to expire. The replay shows that to be a ridiculously lame call. Anyway, Livingston hits his free throws to put the Warriors up, 124-114. What a mess.

11:46 – This one comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 124, Cleveland 114 in overtime. There’s quite a bit to unpack after this one.

getty-images-964651070.jpg

Steph Curry finished the night with 29 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists, Kevin Durant went for 26-9-6, Klay Thompson added 24, and Draymond Green stuffed the box score with 13 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks and one ruckus.

As mentioned in the above tweets, LeBron James finished with 51 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists on 19-32 shooting in a historic performance that was all for naught. Kevin Love contributed 21 points and 13 boards.

Never mind all of that. Obviously, if George Hill makes that second free throw, there’s no telling what might have happened. The Warriors would have had a time out and then 4.7 seconds to get off a good shot. But he did miss that free throw, which led to an all time gaffe by JR Smith, who thought the Cavs had the lead (the cameras caught him saying as much to a flabbergasted LeBron James after the buzzer sounded). That HORRIBLE ERROR ensured an overtime in which the Warriors ran away with the game.

And then there was the crazy-ass ruckus at the end of the game. There was absolutely no reason to hit Thompson with a flagrant-two foul. Then, as he so often does, Draymond Green showed up and exacerbated the situation by being obnoxious, and Thompson couldn’t keep his cool, shoving the basketball into Draymond’s face and inciting a brief ruckus before he finally left the court. Now, Thompson may face a suspension for Game 2 for failing to leave the court in a timely manner.

All of this wastes an epic performance from LeBron James, who continued remarkable run through this year’s playoffs with, once again, 51 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. The Cavs really should have won this game. A missed free throw happens to the best of us, but not knowing the goddamn score in that situation. Christ, the score is on full display all over the arena. What the hell, JR? There’s no coming back from that.

That was one of the wildest games I’ve ever seen, and the ramifications of it could ring out. It could plunge the Cavs into a tailspin for the rest of the series, which is important because LeBron can leave Cleveland again this summer.

Game 2 is going to be fascinating. It feels like the Cavs just put forth their premium effort, and still lost, and in awe inspiring, totally deflating fashion. Will they be able to bounce back, or is this series just over now? We’ll find out Sunday at 8:00 pm.

12:35 am – I’m still awake for some reason! I just had to come back to include this…

Now we have the Cavs coach and JR Smith giving conflicting reports on the now infamous final play of regulation! Holy fuck, I love the NBA so much.

Advertisements

2018 Western Conference Finals – Game 7

I have returned from last night’s mournful saunter through the woods, because there’s yet another Game 7 with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line. It’s down at the Toyota Center in Houston as the Rockets host the Warriors. Chris Paul has been ruled out for tonight, dealing an unfortunate blow to the home team, whereas the Warriors continue to go on without the services of Andre Iguodala. Will we see another road team take the game? After last night, road teams are 27-104 in Game 7s, according to TNT’s Ernie Johnson, so the odds are against it, but of course, there’s no telling what’s about to transpire.

It really, really sucks that Chris Paul has to miss the game tonight, especially since he’s been instrumental in getting them here, shedding some of his reputation as a playoff choker in the process.

9:01 pm – For the last time this season, because lousy ESPN gets the Finals, we’re welcomed into a basketball game by Marv Albert, who will narrate the action tonight with Chris Webber and Reggie Miller.

9:02 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and another Game 7 is underway. By the end of the night, one of these teams will be on their way to the Finals to face the Cavs.

9:04 – A pair of James Harden free throws provides the first points of the ballgame, putting the Rockets ahead, 2-0.

9:07 – Kevin Durant puts the Warriors on the board with two free throws, and they trail, 4-2. The Warriors are already in the penalty less than two minutes into the game, including two early fouls on Klay Thompson, who remains in the game. and Draymond Green has been observed sharing a heated exchange with Kevin Durant.

9:10 – James Harden knocks down a three and he’s fouled….by Klay Thompson. That’s three on Klay, and he saunters off to the bench. Shaun Livingston will replace him. Meanwhile, Harden misses the free throw, and the Rockets lead, 10-9, in a game that’s already a gigantic mess.

9:13 – We’re here at our first time out with the score Houston 15, Golden State 9 with 6:30 left in the first quarter. Both teams have been loose with the ball, combining for seven turnovers already, and Klay Thompson has been exiled to the bench with those three fouls. This one seems like it’s going to be wild.

9:17 – The Warriors, already in the penalty, intentionally foul lousy free throw shooter Clint Capela to send him to the line. he misses them both.

9:20 – Kevin Durant knocks a three, and we’ll head into a time out with the score Houston 18, Golden State 14 with 4:03 left in the opening quarter.

9:29 – Between a pair of James Harden free throws, we have a time out with the score Houston 23, Golden State 17 with 1:30 left in the first quarter. This one continues to be weird with the likes of Ryan Anderson and Joe Johnson, two players that have been chained to the Rockets bench throughout the playoffs, making appearances so far.

9:33 – Here at the end of the third quarter, our score’s Houston 24, Golden State 19. James Harden has 14 already to lead the Rockets, while Kevin Durant has 8 for the Warriors. That was not a great quarter of basketball, with the two teams combining for 11 turnovers, and each shot under 40%. In other words, it’s a standard yucky Game 7.

9:37 – We’re here at the start of the second quarter, and Klay Thompson is out there with his three fouls. He immediately heads to the hoop for a layup that gets goaltended, and the Warriors trail, 24-21.

9:41 – James Harden lobs one up to Clint Capela who throws it down, and the Toyota Center crowd is loud with the score Houston 34, Golden State 23 with 8:37 left in the first half. The Rockets are outworking the Warriors, fighting for offensive rebounds and second chance points to build their lead.

9:48 – Kevin Durant nails a three, but the Warriors remain down double digits with the score Houston 44, Golden State 33 with 5:50 left until halftime.

9:55 – Klay Thompson surprisingly misses two free throws, but the Warriors get the offensive rebound, only to have a pass stolen by James Harden, who takes it all the way down the court for a dunk! It looks like he also lost a contact lens in the process, so we’ll have a time out with the score Houston 48, Golden State 33 with 4:53 left until halftime.

10:03 – The first half comes to an end with Eric Gordon going the length of the court for a layup to beat the buzzer, and we’ll head into the break with the score Houston 54, Golden State 43.

James Harden has 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for the Rockets, but he’s shooting just 5-15. Eric Gordon has 14 after that buzzer beating layup, but the most impactful player for the Rockets has been Clint Capela, who has 14 points and 6 rebounds on 7-8 shooting.

Kevin Durant has 13 to lead the Warriors, and Klay Thompson has avoided further foul trouble to score 12.

The Rockets have been making all of the hustle plays, hauling in 11 offensive rebounds and coming up with ten steals. That’s the sort of stuff that gets you a win in a Game 7, but we’ll see if the Warriors come back with one of their patented third quarter supernovas.

10:21 – James Harden gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Rockets score the first points of the second half to extend their lead to 56-43.

10:23 – Klay Thompson picks up foul number four. He’ll remain in the game.

10:27 – We’ve got a time out with the Warriors on a 10-4 run to make the score Houston 58, Golden State 53 with 7:20 left in the third. The Rockets are still playing hard, but they’re starting to look fatigued. Meanwhile, the Warriors are still a mess, but even their most garbage possessions end with someone sinking a shot.

10:34 – Steph Curry cans a three from the corner, and it’s a one possession ballgame with the Rockets clinging to a 61-58 lead.

10:36 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Houston 61, Golden State 58 with 4:34 left in the third quarter. The replay on that last Curry three revealed an egregious moving screen by Jordan Bell that wasn’t called.

10:40 – Kevin Durant puts in a three, and we’re tied up at 61 as Durant’s up to 19 points.

On the next possession, Steph Curry hits another three, and the Warriors take a 64-61 lead.

10:42 – James Harden puts in a pair of free throws. He’s up to 22 points, and the Rockets trail, 64-63.

Steph Curry answers on the other end with a layup, putting him at 16 points, and putting the Warriors ahead, 66-63.

10:43 – Curry knocks down another three, this time with help from a friendly rim, and the Warriors lead is 69-63.

10:48 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the scoreboard reading Golden State 76, Houston 69.

James Harden has 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the Rockets, and Kevin Durant’s 23 leads the Warriors, with Steph Curry right behind him with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

The Rockets seem completely dismantled at the moment, and the Warriors are in total control. We’re twelve minutes away from Chapter 4 of the Warriors/Cavaliers Finals.

10:52 – Klay Thompson leads off the fourth with a long two pointer with a foot on the line, and the Warriors lead is 78-69 as we head down the stretch.

10:56 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 83, Houston 73 with 8:27 remaining. The Rockets have missed 25, count ’em, twenty five straight three pointers. It’s time to resign yourself to a fourth straight Warriors/Cavs Finals that nobody outside of Northern Ohio or San Francisco wants to see.

11:04 – We’ve got a time out with 6:07 remaining and the score Golden State 89, Houston 79. PJ Tucker just hit a three, finally ending the Rockets streak of missed threes at an unholy 27.

11:13 – The Warriors are fouling Clint Capela to put him at the line and kill any momentum the Rockets might have, despite being up double digits.

11:14 – Kevin Durant gets a layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Golden State 97, Houston 85 with 3:15 left in the game. It’s been a rough pair of Game 7s this Memorial Day weekend.

11:21 – We’ve got one final time out with the score Golden State 99, Houston 92 with 29.5 seconds to go. Everyone on NBA Twitter seems bummed out or at the very least, annoyed. Like the Celtics before them, the Rockets just missed too many damn shots tonight, costing them a winnable game.

11:26 – This one comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 101, Houston 92.

James Harden finished the night with 32 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals on 12-29 shooting, including a 2-13 mark from beyond the arc. Eric Gordon came up with 23 points and 6 assists, but shot 2-12 from downtown. Clint Capela contributed 20 points and 9 rebounds on 9-10 shooting, and PJ Tucker chipped in with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Trevor Ariza, however, had a game to forget, going 0-12 from the field, and 0-9 on threes. Overall, the Rockets shot 7-44 on three pointers.

Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 11-21 shooting. Steph Curry came alive in the second half to finish with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals, and Draymond Green added 10 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

After all that, it’s Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers, Volume 4. I’m frankly not super pumped for it, but, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. It especially sucks that Chris Paul wasn’t in action over the last couple games of the series, but the Rockets had big leads in both Games 6 & 7, but couldn’t close it out amidst a barrage of clanked three pointers. It was some sad shit.

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

Despite how ornery it might make us, it’s pretty spectacular that two teams are meeting for the fourth straight time in the Finals. It’s something that’s never happened in our four major sports. I think people are bummed because of the sense of inevitability. I don’t think anyone would have been upset of the Celtics and Lakers met four straight times in the 80s, but every time they met, it was awesome, and it seemed that both of them had an equal shot of winning. Here in the 2010s, it’s hard not to think that we’re in for another predictable championship, with the Warriors taking full advantage of the Cavs uneven defensive effort. Hey, maybe it will be better than that. That’s why we’ll always watch.

 

2018 Eastern Conference Finals – Game 7

It is time. Game 7 between the Celtics and Cavaliers at the Garden. The winner heads to the National Basketball Association Finals. What more else is there to say about this series? The home team has dominated every game, setting up tonight’s Game 7. Kevin Love is out tonight for the Cavs after suffering a blow to the head in Game 6. That actually makes me a little nervous as a Celtics fan, because it’s been the guys like Larry Nance, who is bound to get more minutes tonight with Love out, who have hurt them throughout this series. Then again, those guys have only really been effective in Cleveland.

It’s a rainy and raw day here in New England, so I have my Celtics hoodie on as we’re welcomed to the TD Garden by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. The Celtics haven’t lost at home in the playoffs, and I’m hoping that trend continues this evening.

8:34 pm – You know what, I’m throwing my Bill Russell jersey on over my hoodie.

8:39 – Mike Breen tells us that this is the first time since 1979 that both Conference Finals have gone to Game 7s after last night’s huge win by the Warriors. That’s pretty cool. In other news, Jeff Green starts in place of Kevin Love for the Cavs.

8:41 – The Celtics win the tip and Game 7 is underway.

Jayson Tatum hesitates at the three point line, dribbles inside it, pulls up and hits a jumper to give the Celtics the first bucket of the night.

8:44 – LeBron James hits a jumper to get the Cavs on the board, and they’re down early, 6-2.

8:46 – Jayson Tatum pulls up and hits a jumper along the baseline, and we’ll have our first time out with the score Boston 11, Cleveland 4 with 8:19 left in the first quarter.

9:00 – We’ve got another time out after Jayson Tatum salvages a possession by flinging the ball off a Cavalier and out of bounds. The score’s Boston 17, Cleveland 16 with 2:58 left in the first quarter. LeBron already has 12 of the Cavs 16 points.

9:09 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with the score Boston 26, Cleveland 18 after a 9-0 Celtics run to cap off the quarter. Jayson Tatum has nine points to lead the Celtics, and Al Horford’s right behind him with eight. LeBron James has 12 points and 5 rebounds, but he’s been observed playing suspect defense thus far. He’s 4-8 from the floor, while all the other Cavs are 2-9.

Oh, also, the Cavs have four turnovers, and the Celtics have none.

9:13 – Terry Rozier loops up a pass to Al Horford who throws it down, and the Celtics have the first points of the second quarter to put the Celtics up ten, at 28-18.

9:20 – We’ve got a time out with the score Boston 35, Cleveland 23 with 6:47 left until halftime. The Cavs are 1-14 from downtown, while the Celtics haven’t much better at 3-12. Boston still hasn’t turned the ball over, while the Cavs have given it up six times.

9:31 – Marcus Smart draws a foul on a layup attempt, but we’ll have a time out before he gets to the line with the score Boston 39, Cleveland 37 with 1:45 left until halftime. The Celtics have gone cold, and it’s allowed the Cavs to chisel their way back into the game.

9:38 –  We’ve made it to halftime with the score Boston 43, Cleveland 39.

Al Horford’s got 14 on 6-7 shooting, and Jayson Tatum has 11 points and 5 rebounds. LeBron has 17 & 10 to lead the Cavs.

The Celtics were able to survive their cold stretch to maintain a lead, albeit, a significantly smaller one, as we go into the break. If they can come out strong in the third, things will be okay.

Cleveland is 2-17 from downtown, and has turned the ball over seven times, while the Celtics have only once. However, Boston’s shooting just 39.5% overall, and are just 4-19 from downtown themselves. It hasn’t been pretty, but it’s definitely been a Game 7.

9:54 – Jayson Tatum fouls JR Smith shooting a three to begin the second half. He goes 2-3 from the line, and the Cavs trail, 43-41 as we get back underway.

9:55 – Terry Rozier ventures into the paint and gets a very friendly rim on a floater to put the Celtics ahead, 45-41.

10:01 – JR Smith cans a three and we’ll have our first time out of the second half with the score Boston 47, Cleveland 44 with 7:20 left in the third quarter. Both teams continue to struggle putting the ball in the basket. At this rate, we’ll be lucky to see someone break 80 points.

10:05 – Jeff Green ends a Cavs fast break with a layup, plus a foul, and he’ll step to the line looking to tie the game. He hits the free throw, and we’re tied at 47.

10:06 – Jayson Tatum pulls up and swishes a jumper to put the Celtics back ahead, 49-47.

10:07 – Al Horford finds Jaylen Brown under the hoop all alone for a dunk! LeBron James answers right back with a three, however, and the Celtics lead is 51-50.

10:08 – Jeff Green hits a corner three, and the Cavs take the lead at 53-51. On their next trip down the court, LeBron throws up a pass to Tristan Thompson who tips it in, and the Cavs are up 55-51.

10:09 – Terry Rozier gets a steal, goes flying down the court and….gets his dunk attempt blocked by LeBron James, who then just stands under the hoop for awhile as play continues down the court.

10:11 – Marcus Smart misses a horrific floater, but he of course steals the rebound and lays it in, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 56, Boston 53 with 2:55 left in the third. The Celtics have remained very cold, and the Cavs have been slightly less cold as we grime our way through the muck here in Game 7.

10:16 – A pair of Aron Baynes free throws makes this a one point game with the Celtics behind, 56-55.

10:18 – Baynes splits a pair of free throws, and we’re tied up at 56.

10:19 – LeBron James knocks down a three, and the Cavs pull ahead, 59-56.

10:20 – We’re at the end of the third with the score Cleveland 59, Boston 56. Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics with 15 points and 7 rebounds, and LeBron’s up to 23 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. This has been a disgusting game, but at least it’s close. Hopefully the Celtics can start hitting some shots as we head down what’s sure to be a stress filled final twelve minutes. Also, hopefully I don’t throw anything.

10:24 – Jayson Tatum starts off the fourth quarter by banking home a contested runner, and the Celtics are down 59-58.

On the next possession, the Celtics force LeBron into an eight second violation, then Marcus Smart finds Al Horford for an alley-oop, plus a foul! Horford hits the free throw, and the Celtics are back ahead, 61-59.

10:25 – LeBron drives to the hoop for a layup, tying us up at 61.

10:26 – Marcus Morris knocks down a three! He’s up to 10 points and 10 rebounds, and the Celtics are back ahead, but JR Smith comes back with his own three, and we’re tied at 64.

10:28 – Kyle Korver knocks down a three, his first bucket of the night, and the Cavs regain the lead at 67-64.

10:29 – Jayson Tatum hits a pair of free throws, and the Celtics trail, 67-66.

10:30 – Marcus Smart deflects a pass, but it goes right to LeBron who hits a jumper to put the Cavs up, 69-66.

10:33 – Marcus Morris splits a pair of free throws to cut the Celtics deficit down to 69-67. They’re in the bonus for the rest of the game, so for the love of god, be aggressive and hit your free throws.

10:34 – LeBron drives and banks in an off balance shot, sending us into a time out with the score Cleveland 71, Boston 67 with 6:55 remaining. I am a mess right now. My heart’s pounding and my hands are shaking while I type. This is an unhealthy way to live.

10:38 – Jayson Tatum storms through the paint and throws down a huge dunk, and bumps LeBron as he heads back up the court! The Celtics are within two, down 71-69.

10:39 – TATUM HITS A THREE! The Celtics lead, 72-71, and Tatum’s up to 24 points. However, Jeff Green answers with a three to put Cleveland up, 74-72.

10:40 – LeBron finds Tristan Thompson for an easy dunk, and the Cavs are back up four at 76-72.

10:41 – Marcus Smart splits a pair of free throws, and the C’s are down 76-73.

10:42 – Jayson Tatum’s called for a foul against LeBron, and we’ll have a time out with the score still Cleveland 76, Boston 73 with 3:47 remaining and I honestly don’t know how I am still able to type.

10:46 – We’re back and Cleveland calls another time out for some reason. Probably to get LeBron, who’s played every minute tonight, a longer rest.

10:49 – LeBron draws the fifth foul on Jayson Tatum and will head to the line. James hits both free throws, and the Cavs go up, 78-73.

10:50 – Marcus Morris splits a pair of free throws, but Marcus Smart gets the offensive rebound, and gets it back to Morris for three…..and he misses it. The Celtics get another offensive and Terry Rozier launches a three, but it’s no good as well. Damn it.

10:52 – LeBron splits a pair from the line and the Cavs lead goes up to 79-74.

10:53 – George Hill is found all the way down the court by LeBron James, and he lays it in to send us into a time out with the score Boston 81, Cleveland 74 with 1:16 left. Fuck.

10:59 – The final buzzer sounds, and our final score is Cleveland 87, Boston 79. LeBron is heading to his eighth straight finals. I am going to go wander off into the night.

Jayson Tatum was great, scoring 24 points and grabbing 7 boards, but overall, the Celtics shot 34.1%, including an awe-inspiringly terrible 2-14 from Terry Rozier, which includes an 0-10 performance from downtown. Jaylen Brown wasn’t much better, shooting 5-18 overall and 3-12 on threes. That’s just too many missed shots in a game they could have won. It reminds me of Game 7 of the 2010 Finals, only this Celtics team isn’t ancient. This one is going to bother me for a long time, no matter how bright the future looks.

As for Cleveland, LeBron had 35 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists on 12-24 shooting, and he had Jeff Van Gundy saying that dragging this team to the Finals is his finest accomplishment. Great.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Seven

There’s another Game 7 tomorrow, and if I return from roaming off into the night, there will be a running diary of that one, but until then…